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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
October 29, 2003
Fernandez Racing
Fernandez Interview
Hot Lap: Strong Strut
CPO Nightmares
Lotus Elise Preview
Coming Next Issue
Bimmer Roundup Coverage
Hot Lap: The Wheel Exchange
Review PowerBook G4 17 inch
Want Clean Glass?

A Weekend Behind Pit Wall:
Team Fernandez & Laguna Seca, continued.
The pits are eerily calm during a race. The crew is quiet on the radio and not much conversation takes place between Adrian and his engineers. By lap 18 Adrian has moved up to 4th place and is 8 seconds behind the leader. The radio crackles to life, "Raise the rear tire pressure 2-psi for this stop." Kenny is on it.

I look at the telemetry screen and notice that the rear tire pressures and temperature look normal. Kenny tells me that there's nothing wrong with the handling, they (the engineers) just want the pressures to be slightly higher). I almost fell over when I saw the brake temperatures from the Fernandez car - 820-degrees Celsius on the front rotors and nearly 500-degrees Celsius on the rears! That is some serious heat!

On lap 23 the radio again came to life. "Pit next lap. Pit next lap." The crew began to prepare for the pending stop. A fresh right-front tire was placed over the wall, the pneumatic impact guns were double-checked and one crewmember was performing some stretching exercises.

Lap 24 and the pits were suddenly a buzz with action - Adrian raced into the pit box, hit his mark and the tires were changed in a matter of seconds. Air hoses flew and the car dropped from its pneumatic lift. Fueler Mike Gugar, stepped back and Adrian smoked the tires on his way out of the pit.

I was amazed - the pit stop looked flawless, but Fernandez dropped two positions while in the pits. How could this be? It turns out there had been an equipment problem with the fuel man's helmet and he over-filled the car by about one second.

One second. A one second error cost two racing positions; the error wasn't anyone's fault - an electronic "blinker" that is mounted inside of the helmet of the fuel man had failed. The blinker is supposed to flash when the car has received enough fuel - it's how the fuel man knows when to remove the fuel nozzle from the car.

Meanwhile, Derek Daly of SpeedTV/CBS was walking up and down the pits, looking for a story. He stopped in and asked, "Have you got anything for me?" Tamy Valkosky, Team Fernandez Public Relations Director shook her head to say, "No." Daly watched the race on one of the Fernandez monitors, then gathered his crew and moved on.

As the race continued, the radio was relatively quiet. Lap 48 brings another pit stop and the pit stop exercise is repeated. Again, the team is upset because they lost two positions by the time Adrian exits pit lane. I managed to catch a glimpse of the fuel gauge and saw that they dumped 29-gallons of methanol into the car in less than eight seconds.

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